Sikhs Open Festival Service to Public

April 13, 2010

Author: Vern Barnet

Source: The Kansas City Star

You’re smart — you know that the two largest faiths on the planet are Christianity and Islam.

And you, you’re very smart because you know that Hinduism and Buddhism are the third- and fourth-largest faiths. You may even have seen the recent PBS program “The Buddha,” which will have several re-airings, including 7 p.m. April 26 on KCPT2.

But are you well-enough informed to know that the fifth-largest religion in the world is the Sikh faith, in the United States for more than a hundred years and now well-represented in the Heartland?

Sikhism arose some 500 years ago in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent as Hinduism and Islam encountered each other. The first guru, Nanak (1469-1539), proclaimed that God transcends human religions. This led to Sikhs rejecting creed, caste and gender discrimination.

Several Sikh families came to the Kansas City area in the 1960s. By 1989, the Midwest Sikh Association had completed a regional gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) at 6834 Pflumm Road, Shawnee. In Kansas City’s Hyde Park area, the Sat Tirath Ashram had its beginnings in 1973 with American-born followers of Yogi Bhajan, who formed the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization). Bhajan was a master of kundalini yoga, and the ashram continues to offer training in that practice.